Flushing, NY: That familiar theme continued for the NY Mets Friday evening at Citi Field. The Mets Jacob deGrom stuck out 10 for the fifth time this season, 37th double-digit strikeout game of his career.
Pete Alonso hit his 29th home run leading off the third inning and doubled home a run in the fifth to give the Mets the lead. Ninth inning and the Mets bullpen gave another one away with the duo of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia.
Forget that the Phillies have won six straight over the Mets with a 7-2 win, the first of three before the All-Star break. They are staying tough to catch the first place Braves in the NL East. This is about the Mets and a bullpen that has not been able to find any consistency with two games remaining before the break.
And Mets manager Mickey Callaway can’t seem to find the answers as to why Edwin Diaz and his slider have not been consistent. After all, this is the same pitcher who saved 57 games for the Seattle Mariners last year.
And Familia gave up another two more runs and also remains inconsistent with a 7.76 ERA. But all four tuns in the Phillies’ five run ninth were charged to Diaz.
Diaz entered with the game tied in the ninth. His slider was not effective and allowed a double to J.T. Realmuto. Jay Bruce followed with the RBI single for the go-ahead run.
The first two batters hurt Diaz. The closer pitches a third of an inning and the ERA is 5.67. What hurts more is Mets fans booed him off the mound.
They remember, Edwin Diaz gave up that go ahead run to Jay Bruce. Diaz was part of that trade that sent Bruce to Seattle that also saw Robinson Cano come to New York during the offseason.
And manager Mickey Callaway is trying to find an answer. There were hints that Diaz could be taken out of that late inning role as a closer or coming in with the game tied. Regardless, the slider is not effective and once again that hurt the Mets from getting a win.
“The one thing that we will always will try to do is try to use our personnel the best we can,” said Callaway. “If somebody steps up and is getting the job done better in that role then we would consider it probably.”
Diaz, the Latino Sports 2018 AL Relief Pitcher MVP, retired the Yankees in order Tuesday night in a Mets 4-2 win, his 18th save. But the inconsistency of the slider and command have caused the worst few months in his young career.
“Right now I’m just trying to find my consistency everyday,” Diaz said through an interpreter. “Honestly I really don’t have an answer.”
Callaway said the slider is “One of the roots of the problem. Can be a challenge but you can’t give Up>”
And to his credit, Edwin Diaz is willing to go along with the plan. He wants to revert to proper form even if that means moving out of the closer role.
“I want to be the closer of this team,” Diaz said. Diaz added. if that is the role he will go with it. All this means of course, Edwin Diaz wants to do what is best for his team.
He has allowed 21 earned runs this year. Last season with the record number of saves he allowed 16.
When asked about his manager possibly moving him out of the closer’s role, he added “”I’ll pitch in whatever role that he wants me to.” So this could be a matter of time before a change is made.
The Mets are not having an issue with their offense. Basically the starters have done their job and it’s that lingering issue with a bullpen that has the worst ERA in the National League.
And if the answers don’t come soon, with two games before the All-Star break, the Mets, at 39-49, can finally say it’s time to look at next year.
VALASQUEZ PITCHED WELL: The Phillies Right-hander kept the Mets scoreless for three innings before the Alonso home run. He attacked the strike zone and did not get the decision in his 10th career start against the Mets.
“it just comes down to execution,” Valasquez said. “If you execute a solid pitch chances are guys are going to pop up , swing and miss or foul it off.”
NOTES: Juan Segura drove in two runs with a double in the ninth. It was his second consecutive multi-hit game… Cesar Hernandez tied the game with an infield single in the seventh inning, He is 16-38 a .421 clip in his last 11 games against the Mets.
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